Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whew! Our Kids Won't Be Dummies

Next year's teachers...Becky and Jimmy

Tara and Troy came to stay with us on the farm this past weekend.  We only had a few objectives.  Hang out.  Interview teachers.  Preferably hire teachers.  Eat at Chuys.

We hung out.  Interviewed teachers.  Hired teachers.  Ate at Chuys.

We felt so American again having multiple plans for a 24 hour span of time and actually completing each one of the things on our list.  It felt glorious.  We did however walk into what most people would consider a very important interview and realized about five minutes before it started that none of us had any idea what we were going to talk about or had any questions written down.  Awesome.  In that way, Haiti's influence on our lives was glaringly obvious.

We're all pretty blown away that these highly-qualified people would want to come live in Haiti with us and teach our children.  When we started the process of putting the word out that our two families were looking for teachers, there was this running joke between us.  Sure.  We'd start out by saying we wanted the applicants to have college degrees, preferably teaching degrees, and have at least one year of teaching experience.  We had several people hint around that they were surprised we were asking for so much.  "Are you sure you're going to get people with those qualifications to live in Haiti and teach your children?"  One of those people was Aaron.  I'm totally outing him here.  That's what good wives do.

In all honesty we were as doubtful as anyone else.  However, educating our kids is no small thing.  It's important to us.  While we don't mind educating them in a less traditional way, we do want them educated well.

The running joke went something like this..."Let's start out by asking for the qualifications that are ideal...the ones we actually want and think are important.  But let's not be surprised if "College degree with education emphasis, and at least one year of teaching experience" turns into "Did you finish the fifth grade with all A's?"

Thankfully it did not come to that.  More seriously...this truly was a deal-breaker of sorts for me from the beginning.  After one year in Haiti the thought of homeschooling our kids on my own was terrifying.  I had exclusively homeschooled our kids prior to moving to Haiti, but teaching three grades with a baby in the house in a country with unlimited access to internet, curriculum fairs, prime shipping with amazon dot com, and stellar public libraries was hard.  I'm not even sure there is a word that would describe what it would be like to educate our kids well in a country like Haiti if I had to do it on my own.  I'm pretty sure their education would get pushed aside most days because there are always huge, life-or-death issues coming up in Haiti that require immediate response, and it's a daily fight for simple things like keeping a family's clothes clean and food in the refrigerator (and getting electricity to that refrigerator).

I knew I could not do a good job of educating the kids without help.  Tara and Troy felt the same way.  We asked for teachers online.  We were pretty sure we'd hear the sound of crickets chirping when we mentioned our list of qualifications we were looking for in the applicants.  Yet we were floored at how many people responded...qualified (most of them over qualified) people began sending in their resumes and applications.

If you're one of those people we want to thank you again for being willing to pick up your life and move to Haiti into a land of so many unknowns to be a part of what God is doing there.  We're incredibly grateful and want you to know that your applications grew our faith.  God used you to teach our families yet another lesson about His faithfulness and presence in our lives and our children's lives as we live and serve in Haiti.

We're excited to welcome Jimmy and Becky to Haiti.  Aaron and I actually know them and went to church with them years ago.  They have both taught for years and are excited about teaching in Haiti and creatively approaching educating seven unique children in a foreign land. 

We'll be working together this summer, picking curriculum, buying supplies, and mapping out the school year.  This will be a strong partnership between us as parents and Jimmy/Becky as teachers. 

Our beautiful school house will be located right next door to the house where our family will be living next year.  Like I can probably wave to my kids while I'm in the house and they are in their desks.  Pretty cool, huh?  Tara and I are excited about getting the school painted and decorated cause we're big dorks that way.  For some reason I get all emotional when I think of all the things our kids will learn together next year.

Mostly I'm thankful.  Thankful that God reminds us time and time again that He's in this with us.  He goes before us.  He causes highly-qualified people who could be doing a long list of other things with their lives to sit at our kitchen table and agree to come to Haiti to teach our kids while loving and serving in Haiti as well.  Miracles.  Every piece of this journey points to the miraculous.


mandi said...

Awesome! So happy for you guys! That is a great way to start the summer.

John said...

Look kinda over dressed for HLM people.

Marla Taviano said...

This is THRILLING. And when these fine folks get sick of your kids, I want their job.

Hendrick Family said...

Ha! Yes. John. None of their clothes had holes in them. Weird!

Marla...you never know!!


Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

It's SO FUN to hear the joys of being in God's will! And yet, we continue to doubt, don't we? I LOVE this post! Thanks for the great reminder that God is totally capable, and probably rolls His Holy eyes when we think it's somehow up to us to take care of things. It sounds like you have GREAT teachers! I'm SO GLAD for you! thanks for the encouragement today!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Well I am happy for you.

And I've always wondered how you homeschooled with Hudson in the mix. We can't even color with markers unless Silas is napping (which he almost never does.)


thad norvell said...

Don't worry, John. I saw them three days later and they were both wearing the same thing they had on in this photo.

thadnorvell said...

(Heather, don't explain my comment to Becky and Jimmy. Just make sure they see John each of the first four days they're in PaP.)

Hendrick Family said...

Oh...that John.

I would never try to use mere words to describe him to anyone.

I'd fail pretty miserably!

Melda said...

Laughing at John's comment about being over-dressed. Assuming John is jealous of the hair growth competition that may come down the line.
ANYWAY.......SO HAPPY for your guys. Many times I felt like I was supposed to pray for you guys specifically about the teacher thing -and because I trust God completely, but mostly think he is TOO SLOW when I want an "American" answer yesterday....I am really happy to finally know that you have one.
(Okay, that was just honesty there, I hope I didn't offend anyone)
Eat some good bacon for me will ya???

brooke r. said...

I'm thrilled that the good folks at Heartline get such good teachers! I'm working on a PhD in Instructional Technology with a focus on teacher education, and so I know what a difference good teaching can make.

Zara said...

Amazing! I can't wait to hear more stories about the shenanigans at the little schoolhouse!

Melda said...

Another random thought......I have lots of them.

Becky's eyes will get a lot of attention in Haiti.

Just so she knows going in.